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TV's big bang year

2011 will be the year when convergence stops being just a TV industry seminar subject and becomes a reality in the UK's front rooms. This year, Virgin, Sky and Freeview will be joined by Apple, YouView, Google, Games consoles and TV set manufacturers in the battle to be the main box under the living room plasma. Jon Creamer reports on TV’s big bang moment

Sky, Virgin, YouView, Google TV, Apple TV, connected TVs, games consoles - the race is on for each platform, service or box under the TV to become more things to ever more people - a PVR, a catch up service, a video on demand service, a web browser, a social networking machine, a gaming console – and to become the player that effectively owns the front room television.

And it’s a race with so many disparate competitors because there are so many disparate reasons to be running in the first place. TV manufacturers want to differentiate their expensive sets from cheaper rivals and become service providers rather than simply kit suppliers; digital TV platforms need to solidify their position fearing that customers might cut the cord and opt for a “good enough” service through broadband; games console makers want to push their way into the front room and get mum and dad using them too and Google and Apple just want a piece of everything.

So it looks like 2011 is set to be the big bang year for the front room TV as viewers stop sitting back and waiting for the traditional channels to spoon feed them shows and become active, lean-forward users demanding video on demand as they fire off tweets, browse the web and check their Facebook status – all on the same front room plasma.

Well, maybe. It’s well documented that more and more people, particularly the young, are multi-tasking while watching the TV. Sending Tweets or using Facebook on a PC, tablet or smart phone while watching a show is already well established.

According to Futurescape’s Connected TV white paper, the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards saw 2.3m tweets about the show during the broadcast that were flashed up on a big screen on the stage throughout. “We’re already seeing a revolution in ‘social TV’ where viewers are using two screens – their TV and a laptop for instance – to watch TV shows while also interacting with their online social networks and getting extra information,” says YouView ceo Richard Halton. “I think that through apps these activities will quickly find their way onto the single TV screen as applications such as Twitter and Facebook are developed for YouView.”

But while most connected TV services plan apps for Facebook and other social networking activities, the jury is out on whether viewers will want them sharing screen space on the front room plasma or will prefer to keep them to the smartphone or tablet in their hand.

“The front room TV is shared and it’s a very communal experience,” says Fernando Elizalde, principal research analyst at research company Gartner. “It’s not a one-on-one television screen. If you’re in the main room sitting with family and interacting with your friends, that can be bothersome for the rest of the people watching it. What may happen is a companion screen that is in synch with the show you’re watching. So you’re having the social television experience on the companion screen while the main screen is not being impacted by a single viewer’s activity.”

How people end up using social networking apps on their TVs remains to be seen. At the moment, the main use of connected services is simple video on demand, particularly on connected TV sets. “Given where we are in the game, especially with a TV device, it’s going to be led in the early stages by the VoD services,” says Samsung UK’s content manager, Darren Petersen. “After all, it is a TV and people still want to be sitting back and watching TV content to begin with. Consumers understand it. They’re already using VoD on other platforms. In the UK the iPlayer led the way and educated the mass consumer. Consumers are comfortable with that form of consumption.”

VoD is set to increase, but even that will be an evolution rather than a revolution. “What people watch is traditional linear broadcast television. Under 10% of all viewing time is time shifted,” says Oliver and Ohlbaum Associates senior consultant David Cockram. “And the vast majority of that time shifted viewing is PVR time shifted. Only a very small amount is [pure] on demand. Even in Virgin homes, still less than 10% of what people watch is on demand.”  

Just because viewers will be able to demand so much more video on demand with their front room TV, it doesn’t mean they will straight away. “My view is a fairly conservative one but realistic and probably becoming conventional wisdom,” says Cockram. “In five years time, under 20% of all viewing will be on demand. And, under current trends, only 2% of all viewing - i.e. 10% of that on demand viewing, will be pure VoD.” With the rest being shows people have recorded on their PVR.
And that figure is based partly on the fact that pure video on demand has been around for a long time, both in the US and on Virgin in the UK, but has until recently, been a very small part of all viewing. “When it was Hollywood movies, HBO content etc the levels of viewing were tiny. What’s really driven the take up for on demand viewing is high quality content from the linear schedule. It’s people watching more BBC primetime shows they missed last night. It’s not watching box sets or Hollywood blockbusters. It’s UK produced content,” says Cockram.

As ever, content is king, and only those providers that offer the content the viewer wants, or who can partner with someone who offers that content, will thrive.

And that’s already looking like a problem for the nascent Google TV. Despite a tie up with Sony to build the TV sets and keyboard/remotes that it will run on, most of the major networks including NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS and Viacom have said they won’t be making their content available for the service. In the UK, it’s original UK content made by or for the major broadcasters that drives people to video on demand or catch up services, and any service that can’t provide this content, is facing an uphill struggle. “You can’t just throw a device out there that’s got an Internet connection,” says Samsung’s Petersen. “You need to treat each segment of the value chain in the right way. The people who own the content aren’t just going to hand it over to you unless it’s done in the right way.”

TV content aside, the great revolution the new services are offering is putting internet connectivity on to the TV. But the way they do that is one of the big dividing lines. Some have a completely open system like Google TV that will make the entire internet searchable with a browser. Others use an apps based system more akin to an iPhone that lets developers optimise internet applications for the TV platform. Which will prove most popular on the main TV screen is a question that’ll be answered over the next year or two. “We are taking a very different approach to Google TV which is essentially looking to put the internet on the TV screen with a full browser,” says YouView’s Halton. “Our belief is that consumers aren’t looking for that from their TV. YouView is about enhancing the TV experience and respecting the place the TV has in the living room as a shared screen that espouses warmth, and entertainment.”

An open system has the advantage of infinite possibilities, but there’s also the ease of use that comes with an apps based system. “Will the regular person have the will, patience and knowledge to peruse the Internet on these boxes,” says Gartner’s Elizalde. “They want it to be easy to access. Not necessarily limited but it has to be accessible and not complicated.”

With so many offering such a bewildering variety of services and ways to access TV, it’s likely there’ll be some thinning out among the various competing platforms and services, but unlikely that will lead to one dominant player. “There are too many major players in the marketplace for one box to really win out,” says Sony Computer Entertainment’s marketing director Alan Duncan. “The TV market will become more like the gaming market’s been for 30 odd years. We’ve always had competing platforms offering quite similar experiences. The broader TV market will start to see a similar scenario.” Consumers will pick and choose as they do now. “Realistically, we’ll end up with a number of different connected TV platforms, just as we have done for TV over the past few years with Freeview and Freesat and pay TV platforms via satellite and cable,” says Halton.
The real convergence will most likely come from the various platforms and services joining together and offering their services through one box. And the likelihood is, it’ll be the incumbent platforms with their name on the box.

“My view is there won’t be calls for cord cutting,” says Elizalde. “ I wouldn’t be surprised in the long term if most of these over-the-top services are integrated into the traditional pay TV services. If you want to get premium content you still have to pay for it. They will partner together because it’s easier for the consumer to access content that way.”                                                                                                 

Formerly known as Project Canvas, YouView is the platform being put together by the BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, TalkTalk, Arqiva and Channel Five. The platform’s first boxes, that will retail at around £200, go on sale from the middle of this year (though YouView admits that date could slip). Essentially, YouView is the connected TV version of Freeview, subscription free but this time combined with the last seven days’ catch up TV as well as on-demand services and interactive extras via a broadband connection. The platform won’t have a browser to search the web, but will allow developers to put together apps made specifically for the platform. Early apps will likely be video on demand applications from companies like LoveFilm as well as services like Skype, YouTube and Facebook. The boxes will also be PVRs. The EPG will incorporate catch up and PVR recordings so viewers can move backwards along the time line and forwards to select shows they want to record in future.

Essentially a standard TV with a broadband connection. Manufacturers like Samsung and Sony are leading a major push into developing and marketing their TVs’ connected abilities. By 2014 it’s estimated that 54% of flat panel TVs shipped globally will have internet connectivity and services. Up until now, many customers who bought connected TVs had simply not got around to connecting them to the net but, say the manufacturers, a lot of this was down to manufacturers instead concentrating on pushing their sets’ 3d capabilities instead of their connected ones. Connected TVs, like YouView and Virgin Media, work with a suite of apps developed specifically for them rather than going for a full on web browser experience. Samsung recently announced the one-millionth TV app downloaded globally from its app store with some of the most frequently downloaded apps in the UK being Lovefilm, iPlayer, Muzu.TV, Acetrax, Facebook and Twitter.

It’s already rolled out in the US but has already run into major problems over what content will be available as most of the major networks including NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS and Viacom have said they won’t be making their content available for the service. Google TV is the player that aims most fully to put the internet on to the living room TV. The entire internet will be searchable rather than limiting itself to an apps-based system where certain providers optimise their sites specifically for a particular platform, though Google TV will have apps as well. Google TV is pushing multi-tasking, the idea of splitting the screen as users wish so they can both surf the web, check Facebook and watch TV all at the same time. Users have to buy a new piece of kit, either a new TV that comes with qwerty keyboard remote, a box with a keyboard from Logitech or a Sony Blu Ray player/Google TV and qwerty remote combined.

Virgin Media’s new box, which went on sale late last year, extends the Virgin Media video on demand capabilities with a TiVo PVR recorder that comes with a 1tb disc and adds and a 10Mbps modem for VoD and online services. Like YouView, which launches later this year, the Virgin box, though connected to the internet, is not aiming to be a browser that can turn the TV into a PC screen. It will also offer apps created specifically for the platform through its own app store with Youtube, Twitter and ebay already available. The Virgin box’s EPG will also try and blur the distinction between live TV, catch up TV, recorded programmes and pure video on demand, with viewers scrolling along a time line and clicking on the shows they want or using search functions to find content. Like a standard TiVo machine, Virgin’s box recommends shows based on the user’s past viewing and shows can be rated by other Virgin viewers using the red button. Viewers can also build wish lists so the box can automatically record shows with a certain theme or featuring a certain actor or director for instance.

Sony’s Playstation 3 and Microsoft’s XBox are both pushing their respective consoles’ TV content capabilities. Most recently it was Playstation 3’s turn with the console adding ITV Player and 4oD to sit alongside the BBC’s iPlayer that users can already access through the console. Playstation 3s already have a web browser, access to Lovefilm downloads as well as other VoD services, live music video collections, links to personal photo album services like Picasa and a soon-to-launch music service along the lines of Spotify. Microsoft’s Xbox already has a hook up with Sky Player that allows its users to buy a Sky subscription and watch standard and premium Sky channels. Users can also download Hollywood movies through Xbox’s Video Marketplace and listen to music through

Sky is extending the scope of its Sky+ PVR with Sky Anytime+ that adds a large VoD service to its standard services with Hollywood movies from the Sky Movies collection as well as classic sports, entertainment, kids shows and docs. Sky is, for the moment, eschewing any of the internet apps that Virgin Media, YouView and other providers are also adding to their boxes and sticking to the straight VoD proposition. It also has Sky Player, another subscription offering, but one that can be used on other platforms aside from a Sky box like PCs and the Xbox. Users buy a subscription to the service, which lets them view Sky channels and its premium content.

Posted 11 January 2011 by Jon Creamer

PS3 and the TV

Sony's announcement that ITV Player and 4oD will be joining the BBC's iPlayer on its Playstation 3 gaming consoles is one more small step towards the reality of convergence in the UK's front rooms.

With web connected TV sets now becoming prevalent, Virgin launching its new TiVo box that can access the web, YouView planning to launch with internet connectivity built in next year and other web/TV services like Apple TV and the soon to launch Google TV in the mix, convergence isn't simply a seminar subject at NAB or the Edinburgh TV Festival any more.

The race is on for each box under the TV to become more things to more people - a PVR, a catch up service, a VoD service, a web browser, a gaming machine - and to become the box that effectively owns the front room TV.

For a games console like the PlayStation 3, offering catch up TV through its box is a way of broadening its user base within the whole family. "One of our jobs is to install PlayStation 3 in to as many UK homes as possible," says PlayStation's UK marketing director Alan Duncan. "If your only offering is games, that can limit your possibilities so a catch-up TV service is a very good way of broadening the appeal of PlayStation 3 and broadening the value proposition in people's minds, both in terms of purchase and how many people in the family are going to use the console."

He said that in the UK 50% of PlayStation 3's connected audience, which is over 80% of the total user base, already use iPlayer through their PS3. "This is a great way to introduce PlayStation into people's homes and make them more aware and accepting of the other things we do."

Playstation 3s already have a web browser, access to Lovefilm downloads as well as other VoD services, links to personal photo album services like Picasa and a soon to launch music service along the lines of Spotify.

"The policy is we're interested in partnerships with the major players," says Duncan. "The TV manufacturers are tending to scoop up lots of services on their integrated internet TVs. We're not interested in offering all the niche services because it's not our core business. We're offering so many other services it would become too cluttered and technically too difficult."

Posted 13 December 2010 by Jon Creamer

Banksy revealed

If you missed the recent Animated Encounters Festival in Bristol, you may have missed this short that finally revealed the true identity of graffiti artist Banksy.
The Aardman short was commissioned by Encounters for its Graffiti Animation section.
Morph vs Banksy was made by director/animator, Chopsy; producer, Lida Nassif; model maker, Enty; lighting, Nat Sale; camera assistant, Joe Maxwell; compositor, Spencer Cross and editor, Nikk Fielden

Posted 08 December 2010 by Jon Creamer

Creative round up

Great work from Nexus, Blue Zoo, Aardman, Joyrider, Loose Moose and Amazing Spectacles.

Nexus was commissioned by Leo Burnett to create this live action spot for Nintendo DS. The oversized DS set was a fully workable machine, operated by the children to create the impression of a DS in use. The producer was Isobel Conroy and the directors were RBG6.

Blue-Zoo created two Christmas themed idents and an accompanying graphics package for Disney XD in EMEA and the US. The animation directors were Mike Wyatt and Damian Hook. Design was by Denis Constantinou.

Disney XD Christmas - Robot from Blue Zoo on Vimeo.

Ireland’s National Consumer Agency brought in Aardman director Chopsy to direct this commercial, Heads, in which a confused consumer sees the world a little more clearly by logging on to the NCA website. The ad uses stop-frame puppets in a world made of ‘foam-core’. All the buildings and props were constructed out of foam-core with the designs enlarged, then printed out and stuck on top.

Commissioned by Publicis, Joyrider created this spot with The Found Collective for UBS and Formula One where sections of F1 tracks are brought to life in a stylised graphical treatment that merges a cut and paste photocopy style with 3d.

UBS - 'THE LINE' - 30" from the found collective on Vimeo.

This is a Christmas short made at animation house Loose Moose by young Czech animator Veronika Jelínková, with the help of head of cg, Dave Loh. It was created with a combination of Maya and After Effects.

LooseMoose Ident from Veronyka Jelinek on Vimeo.

This is new animation studio Amazing Spectacles’ first job, the winter TV campaign for firelighter and ignition brand Zip. It was directed by Martyn Pick who worked with Prime Focus senior animator Andi Farhall.

Posted 06 December 2010 by Jon Creamer

Watch with Nexus

Nexus Productions' Clemens Habicht produced four stunning idents through creative agency Harriman Steel, as part of their rebrand of UKTV's Watch channel (click on pic below to view).

The idents have the strapline Watch together so each shows an everyday scenario where things are better shared (a picnic, a night out, a night in, a café). They were created using Japanese black theatre techniques where puppeteers swathed in black move people and objects around the scene.

It was filmed entirely in reverse as a single take on steadicam, with all effects achieved in camera.  Using varying shutter speeds, the film was then played back at 25 fps, to slow things down and create the magical, floating effect.  Black costumed people (later graded so that they would disappear from view) created the storm of things and people arriving in the scenes.  

Agency: Harriman Steel
Creative Director: Julian Harriman
Agency Producer: Beth McQueen

Production Company: Nexus Productions

Director: Clemens Habicht
Executive Producers: Charlotte Bavasso and Christopher O’Reilly

Producer: Isobel Conroy 

Production Manager: Alistair Pratten
Director of Photography: Nick Bennett
Art Director: James Hatt

Posted 03 November 2010 by Jon Creamer

D&AD's multilingual shout out

International design and advertising awards body, D&AD, put out its call for entries for this year’s awards with a live address in 13 languages in the style of a US presidential state of the Union speech.

D&AD president, Sanky, gives his call to creativity from a presidential lectern in all 13 languages in turn or viewers can click on their own language to view the address in just one.

Work Club created the campaign for D&AD that needed to stress the international nature of the awards whilst being “true to its British DNA.”

As the campaign progresses over the next weeks and months, Sanky the president will deliver a number of other speeches, including a Xmas message.

Posted 03 November 2010 by Jon Creamer

Televisual Storyboard

In this month’s Storyboard, Underworld says it with flowers; Rushes and Red Bee go back to the future for BBC1; Adams Trainor gets up close and personal with the old masters; Chopsy mixes on vinyl; Manvsmachine makes Nick’s future bright and orange; Dinamo Productions take the Wordles to the small screen; UFO and mathematic fly into space; Billy Goat tries to kick off a property boom and Assaf Hayut creates a perspex human

This is Underworld’s promo for Bird 1, three shots stretched over eight minutes from a digital time-lapse studio shoot set up by still life photographer, Peter Thiedeke. Tomato director Dylan Kendle brought in Glassworks’ Flame artist Duncan Horn to give the shots a painterly feel.

Rushes completed vfx work and grading on this Back To The Future-style promo directed by WHO? through Red Bee for BBC’s Turn Back Time: The High Street series. Hosted by Gregg Wallace, shopkeeping families are transported back to the birth of the high street in the 1870s. The trailer shows a Victorian street scene with a BBC1 minibus, mocked up to look like a time machine, appearing from nowhere, (bursting through a time bubble) and screeching to a halt along the centre of the high street leaving flaming tyre tracks in its wake.

The HD photo mapping sequences in Blakeway’s BBC2 arts series Renaissance Revolution were developed by Adams Trainor. Paul Trainor travelled to Vienna with photographer Rupert Truman to capture every square inch of Raphael’s Madonna of the Meadow using large format cameras fitted with 65 mega pixel capture technology allowing for microscopic interrogation of the surfaces. The detail is so microscopic a photographic print of Madonna of the Meadow using the images from the series would be 12 metres high and fully HD.

Nickelodeon HD from ManvsMachine on Vimeo.

ManvsMachine directed and animated this series of logo idents for Nickelodeon's HD channel. The brief was to create an evolution of Nickelodeon's “one-brand” to show-off the network’s recently added HD capabilities.

INTO THE COSMOS - Architeq/Chopsy from Chopsy on Vimeo.

Into the Cosmos by Architeq is Chopsy’s (Aardman’s Darren Robbie’s) first foray into the world of music videos. Using a combination of stop-frame, pixellation, live-action and time lapse animation, old records travel the streets of Bristol.

MTV's BEST HD LIVE PERFORMANCE - TITLES from steve Lewis on Vimeo.

Directors UFO, repped by Not to Scale, created the new intro, closer and bumper teasers, as well as the logo, animated titles and integrated wipes, for MTV show Best Live Performances. Post was at Mathematic.

The Wordles Pilot from Jessica Gunn on Vimeo.

Wales based Dinamo Productions is to go into production on its “multi-layered interactive word and sound association” kids series, The Wordles after winning a three way commission from CBeebies, RTEjr and S4C.

Property Pal Charlie from BillyGoat Entertainment on Vimeo.

Belfast based Billy Goat Entertainment created a series of 30-second commercials for Irish property website The ads see mascot, Charlie, visiting locations around Northern Ireland, planting Rent and Sale signs.

This four-and-a-half-minute film, The Perspex Human, was developed over five-months by animator Assaf Hayut and residents at Dower House, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust’s (SLaM) adult self-harm service.

Posted 28 October 2010 by Jon Creamer

The whole of the moon

Behind the scenes of actor/writer Mark Gatiss's HG Wells adaptation for BBC4

Can Do Productions, the indie set up by writer/actor Mark Gatiss and director Damon Thomas didn’t take the easy route for its first project, a vfx-heavy sci-fi/costume drama on a BBC4 budget

BBC4 has commissioned some award winning dramas in its time, but it’s not known for having the most luxurious budgets in the genre.

So a period adaptation of HG Wells’ The First Men in the Moon, in which the main characters shoot off to the moon in a Victorian spaceship and encounter an extraterrestrial race of insect-like beings, required some serious budgetary ingenuity from new indie Can Do Productions.

But, says Mark Gatiss, who set up the indie as a vehicle for his and co-founder Damon Thomas’s pet projects, that’s sort of the idea of the company. “We’d had fantastic experiences with likeminded crews of a can-do nature. It’s amazing what you can do on a BBC4 budget if everybody is up for it.”

The pair met while working on the incredibly tightly-budgeted docu-drama The Worst Journey in the World and went on to make ghost drama Crooked House for BBC4 that involved “three different time periods, shot in 15 days. Incredibly ambitious,” says Thomas. So the pair, it’s fair to say, had previous. But The First Men in the Moon was to be of a different order of budget squeezing.

As it was their own indie making the film, some of that squeeze came from ploughing the production fee back into the budget. “If we’d done it with another company, the fee would be split and money would go out of the production and it wouldn’t have been achievable,” says Thomas. And “when you’re small, you can ask people for favours because you’re not seen to be a big company with a massive turnover.”

Potentially the most difficult aspect to achieve on such a tight budget was, of course, the extensive vfx necessary for a trip to the moon and alien characters. Luckily post house Rushes stepped in. The company agreed to create the 312 vfx shots needed along with the creation and animation of the film’s alien race of Selenites for the “challenging budget” that was available. Vfx artists “get into that business to create alien creatures on other planets,” says Thomas. “And most of them end up taking spots off models in commercials or animating crisp packets. This is their opportunity to make talking moon creatures.”

But despite Rushes excitement at the project, it still needed to plan carefully to make the job financially viable. Rushes first created an extensive animatic for all the big vfx scenes. “We blocked out all the scenes in complete to-scale detail,” says vfx producer Louise Hussey. “Often people bring you in halfway through a shoot but we saved so much time because everybody knew what needed to be done. It was a joy because the vfx team was immersed in the process” right from the beginning. Director Damon Thomas agrees that preparation is the key. “You've got to move so quickly to achieve the schedule. You can’t just say ‘I want to shoot this five ways’” and decide which was best afterwards.

It’s also important to be able to quickly adapt and that becomes easier when the writer, lead actor and director are also the exec producers, says Gatiss. “If you’re up against it, as the writer you can say ‘that’s fine, we don’t need that bit.’ It’s easier. You can work your way around [problems] because you’re there all the time.”

Another major money saver was creating a script that didn’t throw up ruinously expensive scenarios. Gatiss’s astronauts are strapped into their seats and wear magnetic boots, for instance, so there’s no need to show them floating in zero gravity. He also had to strip aspects out of the original story. “In the novel the moon has a massive jungle that grows and withers within the space of a lunar fortnight, we couldn’t do that. There were also gigantic moon calves that we couldn’t afford.”

“When you’re producing it as well [as writing it] you end up having arguments with yourself,” says Gatiss. “If I was just adapting it I might say ‘we’ve got to go for it and see what we can afford.’ But I’ve done enough lower budget things to know what’s feasible and what’s artistically viable.” And a low budget can’t justify a poor product. “If I thought it wasn’t going to look any good I would have said ‘I don’t think we should do this.’”

The Selenites
Initial designs for the Selenites were created by artist Carim Nahaboo. “They were really interesting,” says Rushes vfx supervisor, Hayden Jones. “But when we discussed with our lead animators about how they’d walk and move, because they were quite long limbed we were concerned about getting all of the different plot points out of the way they looked. So we started sculpting with Damon and Mark . We kept a lot of the feel of the original design. We kept it alien but with enough of a human feel so they could communicate and you could feel emotional about them.

Size Matters
“Quite often films feel small on a low budget,” says director Damon Thomas. And with the action set on the moon, that was something to be avoided. But scale costs and the set wasn’t huge. “Because of the size of their set they couldn’t get the scale of exterior shots that they wanted,” says Rushes’ Hayden Jones.  “So naturally everyone’s first assumption was to hang a blue screen up” behind the set and create vfx backdrops to be composited in later. “But on such a challenging budget, 50 blue screen shots eats up a massive portion of that.” The solution was to create matte paintings and turn them into huge 120 foot backdrops to hang behind the set. “I then put the camera right up in the top corner of the set and did some long lens shots of the characters walking along” with the backgrounds out of focus, says Thomas.

The Big Finish
“There are a lot of fantastic shots in terms of the quality of the grade,” says Damon Thomas. “I worked on that for a long time to perfect it. You have to have that attention to detail in the finishing processes. One of the things I aimed for was consistency across the whole film.” And that involved pushing Rushes to spread their efforts evenly across all the vfx shots, not just the hero ones. “Quite often people get obsessed with one creation, my job is to keep the consistency right through.”

Channel: BBC4
tx date: 19th October 2010
budget: Tight - even for BBC4
on screen talent: Mark Gatiss, Rory Kinnear, Alex Riddell, Peter Forbes, Katherine Jakeways
cameras: Red One
post production: All vfx shots completed at Rushes with Ascent 142 completing post and sound design
studios: Pinewood Studios
locations: Ad director Howard Guard’s estate in Hertfordshire

Key credits
Commissioning editors:BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson and head of BBC4 Richard Klein
Production company: Can Do Productions
Executive producers: Mark Gatiss, Damon Thomas, Jamie Laurenson (BBC)
Director: Damon Thomas
Writer: Mark Gatiss
Producer: Julie Clark
Editor: Liana Del Giudice
Composer: Michael Price
VFX Producers: Louise Hussey, Warwick Hewett
VFX Supervisors: Jonathan Privett, Hayden Jones
Compositors : Dan Alterman, Noel Harmes, Anthony Laranjo, Simone Coco, Barry Corcoran
3D Animation: Andy Hargreaves, Craig Travis
Lead TD: Mark Pascoe
Sequence lead: Seb Barker
Matte Paintings: Matt Lawrence,Brad Le Riche

This article originally appeared in Televisual's October 2010 issue

Posted 12 October 2010 by Jon Creamer
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